|a republic in SW Asia, on the Persian Gulf: coextensive with ancient Mesopotamia; became a British mandate in 1920, independent in 1932, and a republic in 1958. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (1990) led to their defeat in the first Gulf War (1991) by US-led UN forces. The second Gulf War (2003) took place when Iraq was invaded by a coalition of US, UK and other forces; government elected in 2005, although there is continuing violence and resistance to the coalition presence. Iraq consists chiefly of the mountains of Kurdistan in the northeast, part of the Syrian Desert, and the lower basin of the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Oil is the major export. Official language: Arabic; Kurdish is official in the Kurdish Autonomous Region only. Official religion: Muslim. Currency: dinar. Capital: Baghdad. Pop: 25 856 000 (2004 est). Area: 438 446 sq km (169 284 sq miles)|
Republic in the Middle East, bordered by the Persian Gulf, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia to the south; Jordan and Syria to the west; Turkey to the north; and Iran to the east. Its capital and largest city is Baghdad.
Note: The ancient civilization of Mesopotamia emerged in the valley between the Euphrates River and Tigris River in what is now Iraq.
Note: Ruled by Saddam Hussein, a dictator who invaded Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. (See also Persian Gulf War.)